Amateur Radio is something I have always been peripherally aware of through my lifelong involvement with the Scouting Movement. On an annual basis, Scouts around the world participate in an event called Jamboree on the Air / Jamboree on the Internet (JOTA/JOTI). Admittedly, I have only really grasped and actively participated in the latter part of this combination event. The “on the air” component has always been an elusive and little-understood companion to the excitement of the emergence of the Internet through the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Circumstances in my life are now different, and pursuing training and licensing as an Amateur Radio operator is something that is mutually beneficial in combination with my role with the 33 Signal Regiment in the Canadian Army Reserve. In my training with the reserves thus far, it has become clear there are a large number of technical concepts to remember, and I believe that having an opportunity to practice these concepts outside of my unit will serve as a valuable memory aid, and build the “muscle memory” that will be an important part of doing that job well.
Each country has its own regulations and standards when it comes to the segments of Radio-Frequency spectrum that are assigned to amateur operators. There are many clubs that exist around the country for those interested in this hobby to collaborate and learn from each other. So far, I have connected with the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club.
In Canada, all aspiring Amateur Radio operators must first take a licensing exam maintained by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The exam comprises 100 questions spanning topic such as relevant legislation and regulations, to technical concepts and on-air courtesies and conventions. From what I can tell there are a variety of ways to prepare for this examination, one of which is self-paced online study from a variety of individuals and organizations that have prepared these online courses and materials. I was lucky to stumble across a series of educational videos, resources, and practice exams prepared by YLab in Richmond Hill, Ontario. I am still working my way through the course, and am finding it very informative and easy to study.
I am currently looking forward to writing my exam at the appropriate time, and registering my intended callsign (it’s a secret!).